It's A Cake-off! 3 Simply Delicious Mother's Day Cakes That Anyone Can Bake

27 March 2014 by

As Mother’s Day approaches we think of our Mums and the roles they have played in our lives. And many of us also get the urge to bake a cake... just like many of us did with our Mums when we were kids.

In her new book, The Baker’s Daughter, Louise Johncox shares memories of her Mum and her family’s tea shop viewed through a food lens. It's not only a great book for anyone who likes to bake from time to time, but the recipes are simple and straightforward; timeless classics handed down by generations of her family - plus it would also make a great gift for your mum come Sunday too. We grabbed a quick chat with Louise to find out more...


So Louise, what was the insiration for your book?

'My father was the baker while my mother was the welcoming face. While Dad baked and decorated cakes, Mum chatted to customers and listened. When I wrote the book Dad said, “Don’t forget to tell everyone how hard your mother worked; she was the shop!' Dad was absolutely right to draw attention to Mum’s key role in the family business. I believe many customers came into our tea shop as much for the cakes as for the warm welcome from Mum and the cosy atmosphere. Mum, Frankie, had trained as a nurse and she had a natural way with customers.'

How did you get interested in food?

'Growing up I helped Dad in the bakehouse, I worked in the shop as a Saturday girl, first as a washer-up and then behind the counter and as a waitress.'

Why do you think Mothers Day is so much about cakes?

' I’ve always known that busy Mums enjoy the simple luxury of relaxing over tea (or coffee) and cake. When I was young I watched mothers and their daughters enjoy tea and cake together in our tea room. I recall the young Mums who tried to snatch some peace with a pot of tea and cake while their toddlers munched on a sponge finger or animal biscuit. I saw mothers enjoying morning coffee and scones or Danish pastries with their children as a Saturday treat. When I worked in the afternoons I often saw customers take out their mothers for tea when they enjoyed sharing a tray of cream cakes or choosing a favourite cake from the counter. I saw the delight on their faces as they tried to pick between a Palmier, cream horn or custard tart.'

The Baker's Daughter : Timeless Recipes From Four Generations by Louise Johncox, published by Macmillan



'Dad occasionally made a lemon loaf cake in the shop. After he and Mum retired in 2000, they redid the kitchen at home and got a new oven. Mum was finally given the freedom to bake. At first, Dad continued to make big batches of cakes, but this lemon drizzle cake swiftly became Mum’s signature cake, because she particularly liked it, and so did everyone else!'


  • Serves 8–10
  • 175g margarine, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g caster sugar, plus extra for
  • sprinkling
  • Juice and grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180.C/gas mark 4. Grease a 900g loaf tin and line it with baking parchment.
  2. Cream the margarine and sugar together with the zest of 1–1. lemons.
  3. Mix in the beaten egg gradually, alternating these additions with tablespoons of the flour. Blend in the lemon extract and milk. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the surface with a palette knife. Bake for 40–50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Towards the end of the cooking time, heat the lemon juice, granulated sugar and remaining lemon zest in a pan for 5 minutes until syrupy. When the cake is baked, while it is still hot from the oven, pierce many tiny holes in the cake using a skewer, pushing it roughly three-quarters of the way from the top surface into the cake. Drizzle some of the lemon mix into each hole, then spoon the remaining lemon mixture over the top surface. Sprinkle a little caster sugar on the top. Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes to allow the lemon mixture to soak into the sponge, then turn out the cake and leave on a wire rack until it is completely cool.




'Dad occasionally made fudge in the bakehouse, but this became Mum’s domain when she retired. Friends and family would constantly ask for her fudge, and she satisfied their cravings by making batches and filling little bags to give away as presents – especially at Christmas.'



  • Makes 30 pieces
  • 900g granulated sugar
  • 285ml water
  • 50g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 397g can condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Grease a 20 x 20cm square cake tin.
  2. Place the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Add the butter and condensed milk. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes until the mixture thickens. To test if it has cooked enough, drop a small amount of the mixture into a glass of cold water. If a ball forms, it is ready.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens to a thick pouring consistency. Pour themixture into the prepared cake tin and leave it for roughly 1 hour to set.
  4. Once it has set, cut it into 30 pieces.




'Dad stocked at least six different types of cherries – glacé, crystallized, maraschino, bottled, tinned and fresh – so that he could use what he felt was the most suitable type to produce the best results. He used glacé cherries in cherry cake, but I use fresh cherries. There is no right or wrong way – it depends on your cherry preference.'


  • Serves 8–10
  • 120g butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 3 drops vanilla extract
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250g fresh pitted cherries or 250g glacier cherries, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Line a 15cm cake tin that is about 7cm deep with baking parchment.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture is light and fluffy. Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl.
  3. Add about 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg to the butter-and-sugar mixture and mix it in well before adding one-quarter of the flour. Now mix in one-third of the remaining egg followed by one-third of the remaining flour. Continue in this way until all the egg and flour are incorporated.
  4. Fold half of the cherries into the mixture, ensuring they are well distributed. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin. Sprinkle the remaining cherries on top.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 160ºC/gas mark 3 and bake for another 40 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.


The Baker's Daughter : Timeless Recipes From Four Generations by Louise Johncox, published by Macmillan


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